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Short, Fat, and Stylish: A Fashion Guide for Plus-Size Petite Women

Lesley has been an online writer for over ten years. She has a degree in law and spends her free time writing about gardening and fashion.

Petite and Plus: Fashion That Works With Your Shape

Petite and Plus: Fashion That Works With Your Shape

Petite-Plus: The Overlooked Size

There seems to be a belief that "petite" is synonymous with "elfin," that petite women are tiny, graceful creatures who float delicately on a sea of petals and have waists the size of an average woman's neck. Not true. While some such women do exist, there are just as many (if not more) who are petite-plus: at least average in width and less-than-average in height.

While the media is delighted to fuss over the existence of so-called plus-size models, the plight of the short is totally ignored. Worried you don't get to see models who are a normal size? Forget about width, that's bad enough. Let me tell you about height.

A "short" model is 5' 9". Honestly. That's at least 8 inches taller than a petite-sized woman, and those extra inches alter the way any outfit looks, not a little but completely. Have you ever tried on a wedding dress and found yourself standing on a small dais which allows the dress, which is too long, to fall to the floor? I bet you looked great, but of course, that's not how you would look if you wore that dress on your wedding day because the ratio of width to height would be completely different with two feet on the floor.

What our culture perceives as elegant is a silhouette where the height is several times the width. Take a look at any fashion illustration you've ever seen. Take a look at a Barbie doll, where the length of the leg is way above normal in comparison to the other measurements. To achieve that elegant ratio of width to height, short women need to use every visual illusion they can.

Monochromatic Colors and Vertical Lines

The longer the single blocks of color are, the taller you will appear. A blouse and pants, for example, will make you look short unless...

  1. The blouse is the same color as the pants, and
  2. There is no obvious horizontal line between them.

The ideal outfit for the plus-size petite woman is mostly one color, with a contrast at the narrowest point (usually the neck). The contrasting splash of color at the neck will allow the eye to follow a long, unbroken monochromatic line from feet to neck. This means that maxi skirts and dresses have the potential to make you look slimmer than conventional skirts will.

Jackets can provide a great contrast and look good over matching blouse and pants (especially when left open to show the blouse which becomes, visually, a narrow strip of lighter colored fabric) but if they don't match the pants, the lower edge will form a horizontal line, breaking the line and spoiling the illusion of height.

One solution is to wear pants, top, and jacket all to match, or use cleverly-shaped jackets like waterfall jackets which hang in soft folds without one solid horizontal border.

How to Wear Vertical Lines

Stripes Work With Your Figure

Stripes Work With Your Figure

Dresses for Plus-Size Petites

When it comes to evening wear, the shorter woman can shine in a full-length gown, but even here the illusion can be improved by the use of the right neckline. A V neck creates an illusion of length and can be very flattering, whereas a square neck emphasizes width and is unlikely to look as good. A high neck can allow a longer visual line, as well, although a little skin at the neckline always looks good, too.

When choosing a dress, remember that solid colors and vertical lines will work with your shape. If you've got the legs for it, don't be afraid of a slit at the side of the dress (which offers a vertical line of skin, after all).

Plus-Size Petite Sleepwear

Nightgowns, pajamas, and robes are just as important—there is no better way to end the day than in a beautiful, sensual silk nightgown that fits, but finding one is often difficult for small women who know that "full length" is a relative term. The best solution is to either use a made-to-measure service (shop at a store that will pre-tailor items to fit you) or alter the item yourself.

If you choose the latter, remember that designs with a lace edge are easy to tailor; by simply cutting off the lace, you'll be able to reduce the nightgown to the right length. "Short" nightgowns tend to fall to the knee on petite women, so it is important to look carefully at the design. If its primary purpose is to show off your legs, forget it and go for something designed to show off your face or shoulders instead.

Although short, plus-size women are not generally used as models in any part of the fashion industry, this doesn't mean they can't look good. Simply by paying attention to the creation of the right visual illusion, you can look just as good as anyone else, however tall you are.

Customizing Plus-Size Clothing for Petites

Questions & Answers

Question: I'm over 60, wrinkle light skin and 5 ft tall. I've lost my figure and my style. How do I regain style?

Answer: The good news is - it's easier than you think. Style isn't about figure, it's an attitude. You can decide to have style.

Start with the two most basic things, a trip to the hairdressers and a new bra. Take a look in the mirror and smile. It's strange how, when you get older, boob height becomes important!

How's your makeup? As we get older our skin tone changes. I am also over sixty and Ive lost my freckles, sadly, my skin isn't a lovely magnolia color any more, it's just kind of pasty. Time for a new foundation or tinted moisturizer. Keep your skin well moisturized, your bust and hair under control. Look in the mirror and smile.

Next, look at your shoes. Find something your feet look good in and look comfortable. Black and brown shoes are conventional, red, oddly, goes with a lot and can make life simpler. If you're looking for one good pair - red shoes go with dark blue, brown or black, while black shoes - don't.

After that it really is up to you. A lot of style is attitude, so you need to be comfortable as well as look good. Keep looking in the mirror and keep smiling. When you get to clothes make sure they fit well. That's more important than anything, and one thing that can help you put an outfit together is to remember that two co-oridnating colors look good, but for style you need three. Even if you dress in all one color, as I tend to do, add a colorful scarf, if you don't like it round your neck, tie it to the handle of your (contrasting) handbag. And smile.

Question: Where can I shop? What stores carry petite stout women’s clothing?

Answer: Before diving in to which stores to visit, make sure you take some measurements. You may be short and fat, but are you equally proportioned? I know I'm not - my torso is normal length, but my legs are not, so stores who sell petite length tops are no use to me, but I do need petite size in skirts and slacks. However, I am 5ft (1.5m) tall and I have to say I have not yet found anywhere where petite size is short enough.

First and foremost I shop for clothes online because websites give you more information about clothes. I have measured myself and know what length of top I like - around 31 inches. I go through catalogues and websites and I'm ruthless - you have to be - if it's not the right length, I ignore it unless it is really fabulous, in which case I look carefully to see if I could shorten it myself.

Whether you can find petite plus size clothes depends on how 'plus size' you are. There are many ranges which will go up to a size 3x, (Lands end, for example, do plus size petite to a size 3x) but beyond that, no. For some reason if you are any larger you are assumed to be an amazon of at least 5' 9". JCPenney, for example, have a plus size petite range, but I could find precious little online above a size 24. Internet searches aren't really useful either, as they often seem hopeful when a brand has a petite range and a plus range, but so often there is no overlap at all.

Lately Ive bought quite a few things from amazon.com, but these were mostly tea shirts from the Daily Ritual brand which I find is great for weekends or under a jacket. I've also bought quite a lot from Torrid. Their listings are very informative and since I know what length I like Ive been able to find some tops in their general range. They don't have many items marked petite but I did find some, though in my case ALL the dresses - and some of them are lovely - were too long, even in the shorter length, but I liked them so I'm taking them up. Some websites will make to your measurements - my most business like clothing at the moment comes from Astartewoman.com, which I can recommend. My underwear mostly comes from Torrid and the rest from all over the place. Old Navy sell slacks and jeans up to size 30 in short, medium and long. I know there are several plus size stores that will sell pants to any length you require, I'll try and update this answer when I find their names, sites like https://www.sumissura.com will create made to measure business suits for both men and women, and of course there is eshakti.com which so far I haven't tried, but I'm looking forward to it since they make to measure. I'm not sure if that's been any help at all, but I am planning to update the article soon, or maybe write another, so if you have found a good experience in plus size petite shopping, please let me know and I can add it to the list.

Question: What would be the best look for a plus-size gown?

Answer: I don't know what type of gown you are asking about, but I'm assuming you mean a formal gown. In general, I'd say keep it simple and one color throughout. The photos of myself that I hate most are when I'm wearing something with frills, at my size (5x) it looks ridiculous (on me), so I'd say stick to a classic style in a color that suits your coloring and make sure it fits well, if necessary make small alterations. If your dress has long sleeves, make sure they are the right length and fit well in width. A dress that fits well will always make you look slimmer.

If the gown has no sleeves and you'd feel more comfortable with your arms covered, a complementary pashmina will usually do the job, and these can be found at relatively low cost on Amazon. Just drape around your shoulders and go. If you are a pear shape, as most of us are, go with a slightly high waist and a trapeze shape. If you have a very large bust, don't pick a very low cut dress unless your bra is first class and you know it doesn't show. Can you go braless? Only you will know. I know I can't.

Wear a necklace that fits; it should sit around your neck, not too tight, and not touch the dress at all. Pearls suit everyone and go everywhere. An alternative is a brooch high on the shoulder, both shift focus to your face from your body.

If you want to show off a small waist, take a good look at the effect of a belt in the mirror. Many short fat people don't suit this look, not because they're fat but because they're short and the belt cuts them in two, whereas tall plus sizes can get away with it. It's not fair, but it's true. Tight waists and puffy skirts look pretty on the hanger, but when you're short there isn't as much skirt as there should be and it can all look horribly wrong. Abandon the princess look and go for the goddess look instead.

Most importantly, be comfortable and be sure to try the whole thing on well before the event you're going to so you can fix any problems.

My personal choice would be a high waisted, plain dress with no horizontal lines below the high waist, in deep moss green or black. To make it super formal, I'd add a beaded bag, appropriate makeup, my favorite necklace, and some sparkling earrings. Don't forget shoes, but make sure they've been worn in and are comfortable.

Remember, they should be looking at you, not the dress, no matter what size you are, your best accessory is a great, confident smile.

Question: What shape trousers are best for a petite woman with chunky legs?

Answer: Since you mention your legs, I'm guessing you don't feel comfortable in leggings. A lot of people don't think plus size ladies should wear leggings, but I disagree. I think we should dress for our own comfort and pleasure. That said, when I want to look good, I wear wide-legged trousers because my right leg is particularly large in circumference and any other type of trouser rides up.

The truth is that there is no one size solution - plus size and petite comes in many different variations. Long legs, short legs, fat legs, thin legs. I think straight trousers look better than tapered as tapered legs draw attention to the wide body above them, while a wide leg makes it look like you are standing on a good wide base, but a lot depends on the color you choose. Try to buy from a store which will let you send it back, make a plan to try the different shapes all in the same color, place your order and try things on slowly and carefully in your own home, but be sure to send back those you don't want! I'm sorry I can't give you a simple answer to your question. I could, of course, make something up, but what would be the point in that?

Question: So why are all of the clothes I saw being modeled by tall, thin women? Really?

Answer: Thin women are easier to dress, it's just that simple. When something is almost flat, it's easier to make a garment fit, curves are more difficult, that's why you so often see the designers on TV (Project Runway, for example) throw up their hands in horror when they are asked to fit a dress on a plus sized woman. Instead of being mostly flat, she goes in and out.

Another reason is that you need more fabric to make plus size clothes. Fabrics come in fixed widths and the results is that the length of a garment doesn't matter much if you're looking at cost, what does matter is the width. As size 5X can easily take twice the fabric of a small, for example.

The third reason is that most designers rely on basic patterns which have been created for the standard sizes. Those patterns just don't exist forf the larger sizes, so to cater to plus sized petites they would have to make a pattern from scratch, and the last reason is that many believe clothes look better when the proportion of the top to the bottom is similar to that on a 5'10 plus woman.

Having said all that, I think you'll find plus size models are becoming a lot more popular, however I can't recall having seen any who are plus size petite, and that's something I'm looking forward to.

Question: What type of shoe should I go with if I'm plus-size and petite?

Answer: One that fits and is comfortable.

Question: What kind of clothing helps keep short heavy ladies cool during hot summer days?

Answer: This is a difficult one. Obviously, the fabric you wear makes a big difference; natural fabrics don't make you sweat quite so much as artificial fibers, but cotton, for example, is not the most practical of summer fabrics. Cotton wrinkles up in your suitcase and needs to be ironed. Who wants to do that when they are already too hot? Fabrics like cotton have no stretch, and that's another reason cotton garments are not always as comfortable as their artificial equivalents.

For short heavy ladies, the problem is often that we tend to 'glow' a lot. Let's not pretend. We sweat. We turn red. It's all rather unpleasant. I often suffer from heat rash if I'm not careful, so what's my solution?

As always, I dress in layers and loose clothing; I like to stay comfortable. If you don't like exposing your arms, a loose kimono type jacket is ideal, especially in a very light fabric like printed polyester chiffon. (Try Torrid.com, for example) Otherwise look for a wide chiffon shawl or ruana; even a pashmina is ideal for summer. If you suffer from chafing, you may find trousers (pants) more friendly than skirts and check to see if your deodorant is just a deodorant or also an antiperspirant. I find spray body oil indispensable in the warm months (as long as it's non-greasy) as it helps to stop heat rash (I get mine from Etsy in some fabulous fragrances), and I spray it on all over before getting dressed. If you suffer from heat rash, you might like to get a good thick body lotion and add some lavender oil which is great for removing inflammation. I stick to basics, trousers or pants with a T-shirt (try daily rituals on Amazon) in the same color as they can make me look as tall as I can be (I'm only 5' or 1.5m). I add this to something more colorful but thin (pashmina/wrap/ruana/kimono) thrown over the top. On holiday I might wear a long dress in the evening, put more/some makeup on and add some jewelry, but that's about it. If I'm honest, I avoid all those 'cool' fabrics we're told to wear in summer because I hate looking creased and I don't intend to spend my vacation ironing.

Question: How should I choose flattering fashion a huge abdomen? I am so short through the torso that my floating rib regularly catch my intestines. My fat grows first and loses last squarely between the bottom of my boobs to my legs. All of the plus size models barely have any belly fat.

Answer: I can really relate to this as I have the same problem. My solution is to choose a style with a high waist which can help to camouflage the bulge. Anything which says 'high waist' or 'empire style.'

Question: I have a company Xmas party to go to in a couple of weeks and I'm freaking out because when I called to ask what the dress code is, they said its "2 sizes too small!" I hadn't even heard of that. It's a very posh place with roof top lounge and I don't know what to wear! I'm 38, 5'3" and 225lb. Do you have any tips?

Answer: This really depends on your attitude. I would look awful in a dress two sizes too small and hence there is nothing anyone could say to make me wear one to an event. Will you be comfortable with your boobs falling out or your arms too tight and showing every single possible bulge? If so, go ahead, but remember this is not about other people, it's about you and what you want. If you're comfortable with it go for it. If not, I think I'd be washing the cat that night. When it's a work event, you may, of course, feel you have to go, so perhaps some sort of compromise could be found. I'd interpret 'two sizes too small' as 'show off your body.' You say this is a posh place, so go for a full-length dress with a high waist and a low neck. Be sure to test it out with an appropriate bra beforehand. If you have a choice of neckline, choose a wide V. If you don't like your arms, buy some stiff net from a local fabric shop, trim the edges and fold it into a few layers, bring it around your back so it frames your head, goes around your shoulders and then tucks under your arm.

Use a brooch or pin to join the two sides together at the back, and it won't fall off. There are many comfortable, practical jersey dresses around at this time of year, they're soft and will let you show off your curves without exposing them. To give them an upmarket look add sparkle with a brooch - amazon has some great big sparklers for very little, be creative about where you pin it, you can add it at the waist or even on the skirt. If you'd like more sparkle, buy a bottle of spray on sparkle and spray the skirt all over. Again, you can find it on Amazon. If you have a choice of dress color, pick one to make your hair color stand out, but don't whatever you do, let anyone make you feel uncomfortable. Life's just too short!

Question: I'm over 30 have lost my figure and dress sense. How can I regain my sense of style in my 30s?

Answer: This happens to many of us ladies, especially after having babies. It's a serious problem and I don't mean to minimize it at all, but you are the one in control of how you feel. You can beat this by taking small steps in the right direction. You might like to keep a journal to help you see how much progress you are making.

Start out by making a change in your life. My personal suggestion would be a new haircut, hair color or both, depending on your budget. You'll look and feel better straight away. Make sure the stylist knows you need a style you can maintain yourself.

The next step is to make regular progress with your figure. Start taking exercise, or doing regular exercise. One of the best is a brisk walk, which is great if you do have small children because you can walk together. No need to go anywhere, just go out walk and come home. Carrying a child is better than a workout with weights, but if you don't children or a budget for weights, try cans or bags of flour or sugar. You'll find loads of videos on simple exercises on youtube. Just do some every day. You don't need a figure, any shape can be nicely dressed, but you need to be and feel fit and exercise will help.

The next step is a good bra. Once your 'bits' are in place you'll feel more together and you'll find that even in casual clothes you look a lot better.

Keep the haircut up to date. You'll need to get it trimmed regularly to stay neat.

Sort your clothes into colors and start to look for what goes with what. If it doesn't fit, get rid of it. If you feel unhappy with your weight, stick to darker colors head to toe. Personally, I live in a deep moss green because it goes with just about everything and is just a bit more interesting than black. The plus point of black is of course that it's easy to match - with more black!

Keep up the exercise and keep walking. Try to use moisturizer regularly to keep your skin looking good. Makeup, well, in my opinion, it's not so important.

Add some color to your outfits. You can use a necklace, a scarf or a brooch. None of these need to be expensive.

As you make these changes you'll notice that you can look at yourself in the mirror and smile, and from that point, it should be a downhill process. Remember, you are doing this for you, not for someone else. Some days will be better than others. It doesn't mean you've failed, it means you took a day off. No one looks perfect (or even good) every day, I don't care what they say or who they are.

Build up a basic stay at home wardrobe.

Two pairs of shoes, one slightly more dressy than the other, two pairs of pants (or one plus one pair of leggings) four tops, two bras and seven pairs of knickers, one handbag, one coat, and two or three colorful rectangular scarves. Baggy tops are fine, baggy pants are not. Adjust the sleeve length and hems using fusible tape. It's quick and easy and you don't need to sew, but having clothes that really fit will help to make you feel good and look good.

From there on, it's up to you. Some things will make you feel more dressed up than others. For my mother, it was lipstick. For me, it's earrings, for you, it could be a kimono jacket over your pants and top.

If your budget is a real problem, if you think you just can't do it, don't think you're alone. I've been there. You look around and think you can't possibly spend money on yourself because there isn't enough. What you don't realize is that feeling better about yourself, regaining your sense of style, will make everything easier. You can't take care of others if you don't take care of you and one day, you'll look at your journal and realize just how far you've come. It isn't easy, but it can be done!

Question: I am 4”11 and I am overweight but still have some curves where is the best place to shop because jeans are too long and so are shirts?

Answer: You're certainly not alone in having that problem. My favorite store was Lane Bryant petites section and they may be perfect for you. I haven't shopped there for a while because they discontinued my size, so I can't speak to the quality of their clothes right now. I have bought from Torrid and been very pleased with the quality, but they have only a very limited number of petite items (it seems to me) and their tops can be very long indeed. My plan for this year is to try e-shakti's made to measure (I haven't yet), but you won't find jeans on their site. If your size is between 14 and 22 you might try Talbots.com, but again, I have no direct experience as they don't go up to my size. I have been very pleased with items from Catherines, but their petite sizes don't go up to my size either, so I've always had to adjust them. I'm sorry I can't give you a definitive answer. If you are 3x or under, I don't think you'll have too much trouble, but for the larger short woman, like me, there are still very few options.

Question: I'm 5 feet and an overweight girl. I am looking for some suggestions on what type of dress to be worn on a wedding. Being overweight I don't think any gown can look good on me. Where can I find a dress that would look good on an overweight person?

Answer: The answer depends entirely on where you carry your weight. If, like most, you are heavier in the hip region, I'd suggest a full length dress with a high waist. I got a really lovely dress from holy clothing or you might try eshakti for something like this which is easy to care for. https://www.eshakti.com/shop/Dresses/Cotton-knit-e... or something similar in dupioni which would look more dressy, but be less useful. Add a lovely necklace to bring all the interest up to your face. If you are worried about your arms, buy a length of sparkle net or tulle from a fabric store and wear it as a stole. You can either tuck it around your arms or fold it behind you to cross over at the back and secure with a brooch or pin. A U neck or wide V is great, and choose the sleeves you feel most comfortable. I like no sleeves or long sleeves myself.

If your bust is large in comparison to the rest, a higher neck will usually be successful, and an 'a' line design can be very flattering.

Being overweight does not stop you looking good, just choose the gown that looks best on you, not on the hanger.

Question: I am about 1.3 meters tall and have shorter than average arms. I usually buy tops in a size 16 but the sleeves are always too long. Where can I buy tops that would fit my shorter than average arms more comfortably?

Answer: I feel your pain. I'm 1.5 meters tall and most sleeves are far too long for me. The best I've found was petite size from Lane Bryant, but I haven't bought there in a while as they no longer sell my size. You might like to try eshakti.com where you can have your top made to measure. I still haven't tried them yet, but I've heard good things. Try Etsy for the same sort of thing, anyone who makes the sort of clothes you want and will take custom measurements. Otherwise, buy some fusible webbing and take up the sleeves yourself. I find one turn is enough for me, and it takes about five minutes using my iron. With delicate fabrics, I use my sewing machine.

Question: Would a plus-size business suit look better with a skirt or slacks?

Answer: There is no single answer to this just as there is no single plus-size petite configuration. I, for example have a normal length torso and very short legs. If you want a general answer I'd go for slacks as long as they fit well. A business suit is typically neutral in color. Dark neutrals will look great as slacks but they have to fit well and go with the major item of business wear, your jacket. Wearing slacks with a matching jacket will give a one color silhouette which will make you look taller than you would in a skirt where you are 'broken up' into shoes, tights, skirt, jacket. However, beware the color. I once bought a 'neutral' that was a sort of burnt orange, and when draped on my 60 inch bust that turned out to be rather intimidating! Stick to the best neutrals, navy, deep teal, moss/olive green, dark brown, deep gray and of course our old friend, black.

Comments

pantelis on August 06, 2020:

Thank god there are articles like this. Fashion should be available for everyone!

picknhook on January 21, 2020:

I really enjoy reading this article. I hope that you would do great in the upcoming time. A perfect post.Nice blog! The content is impressive me. Thanks for sharing about Online Clothing Stores

Kay on October 27, 2019:

SHOE TIPS: Choose shoe styles that make your legs and/or feet appear longer:

-Choose a shoe color that extends the color of your pants

-A low Vamp or "V" cut shoe/sandal: exposes as much of your upper foot as possible

-Pointy toes: extends the length of the leg

-Nude shoes/sandals (matched to your skin color) worn with dresses, skirts or shorts make legs look much longer

-Select a well proportioned heel, both height and style

Kay on October 27, 2019:

Great article that encompasses most all of My BEST TIPS:

*Proportion is key; short people generally look best in shorter (proportioned) pieces AND meanwhile by creating the illusion of a longer torso (waterfall jacket) and legs (high waist, straight streamline legs, moderate or high heel)

*Lighter & brighter colors on the upper body naturally bring the observer's eye upward, giving the illusion of a taller person (an eye catching hair piece or hat can do this as well)

*Never cut your body in half visually; opt for a monochrome outfit or use colors in the same color group to create a longer body line. Be careful with all belts especially wide ones.

*Avoid all horizontal wrinkles and washouts, and cuffs on pants.

*Avoid anything "hobo" (unless you want to look like one).

*Avoid cheap "thin" leggings (unless you want to look like a hoochie-mama)

Kay on October 27, 2019:

Tip: My short legs often fit very well into "rolled up" capris & jeans IF I roll out the cuf!

SUSAN PATTERSON on October 04, 2019:

Im looking for a girdle to hold up my big belly up, it hangs down, and when I sit down my belly lays in my lap! Please help me!

Lynda A. on August 25, 2019:

Thank you for the guide) I would like to add that the fabric is very importent. Elegant and comfortable high quality linen dresses can highlight feminine shapes and attract the special person. https://linit.shop/plus/plus-size-dresses/

Cathy on August 18, 2019:

Where should a t shirt or too stop so as to avoid further shortening the body ?

Lesley on July 20, 2019:

I like to where my dark colored stretch leggings with a nice baby doll like blouse, it always works out as the leggings are stretch but fitted and the blouse is loose and makes you look slimmer im 5 ft 170 lbs.

rosecosabella on July 12, 2019:

Interesting article on Short, Fat, and Stylish: A Fashion Guide for Plus-Size Petite Women.Since all types of fabrics are not for different sizes of bodies, Like a type of bra is not suitable for all types of body. I am suggesting you a article http://www.sheebamagazine.com/read/the-greatest-re... which will help to chose the right bra as per your body shape.. Thank you

Jan Hines on May 28, 2019:

I am 4ft 9inches tall and out of shape in all places. I am 60 years old . I dye my hair dark brown because I do not suit blond hair. I have no fashion sense. please help

Janice on May 27, 2019:

I want to ask about bras.

The under wires are too long. If I adjust the straps, they poke up in the front. And the cup has space at the bottom, even though they are the right size. I am not sure if the apex is in the right place.

Where do I find bras that fit properly?

Losa on March 25, 2019:

What are the clothing sizes and dementioms of the person who made this video?

Dayna Barnes on March 10, 2019:

Thanks for sharing this, and I love some of the tips. But please, no seamstress worth using is going to be able to do anything to help for $5-10, and nobody should think they should. Alterations take a good deal of time and skill, so be prepared to pay more or you likely won't be pleased. However--it's totally worth it. A well-fitted piece of clothing is ALWAYS more flattering than a cheap, ill-fitted one.

Andrew on December 26, 2018:

Looking for a good quality thick cotton only robe to fit my wife - she's 5-2 tall and needs room in the middle...the robes out there don't have enough room in the middle...any suggestions? thx

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on August 12, 2018:

Thanks for your comment. I checked out the article you mention, but I have to say that although most of these stores do have plus size clothes - the majority don't cater to plus size petites which is what this articles is about. I have had a good experience with some clothes from Torrid - I love their kimono's for example - and hoped to buy some of their pretty summer dresses, but they are all far too long for me and hence for most other petites. Once day, if Torrid do start to sell things our length, I will be adding to this article.

annacianly on July 29, 2018:

Thanks for sharing the great information on fashion guide for the plus size petite which is amazing and really helpful to plus size women and video information given by you is really great. some plus size women always ask me where to buy some affordable plus size cloth and I found some great online stores where plus size women get really amazing clothes at very affordable prices I think you should also check this online stores once dear Lesley.

Please visit here: http://www.allteenstalk.com/8-best-online-stores-f...

Ess on July 12, 2018:

Great article and video thank you! As a short and round person I find jackets particularly difficult. For the jacket to close over my bust it has to be massive everywhere else with mile long sleeves. When I am richer I will definitely go the tailored/altered route.

BErin on May 11, 2018:

Thank you so much for posting this. I’m nearly in tears reading it because of the years of frustration feeling like clothes never fit me right. It’s long past time for clothes that are designed for real women.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on April 28, 2018:

I couldn't agree more. Why do they seem to think all us plus size ladies are tall? Are you short everywhere? I know I'm not, my torso is pretty normal length, but my legs are really short and that makes everything a challenge. Ive even had garments made to measure that didn't get it. I'm about to try another made to measure service, I'll update the article if it turns out to be useful.

Cynthia Hoover from Newton, West Virginia on April 05, 2018:

Very infomative read! I have always struggled to find a good fit in the clothing I like! I am barely above 5 feet tall and plus sized. It makes shopping for clothing a pain! There is a mindset that plus size means tall, I have yet to find a pair of jeans with a good fit for length. If something fits my mid section its miles too long. Knee length skirts on me are closer to either mid calf or close to full length. Capris? Forget it i may as well just cut off those jeans that are too long and hem my own for capris. Shopping should be fun right? Hopefully in my lifetime a clothing line comes out that offers a bigger range of plus sizes!

Ron on September 15, 2017:

Short heavyset ladies can look great in stylish clothing. I am a guy who always gravitated toward short heavyset females of the human species, especially in my younger days (I'm over 60 now). Back then, I was very tall (slightly over 6 ft.) and very skinny (slightly under 130 lbs.). One short heavyset lady in particular, who became my girlfriend, got a real kick out of physically overpowering her tall skinny boyfriend who towered over her by more than a foot (she stood 4-foot-11) while she outweighed him by more than fifty pounds (she weighed 190 pounds). It didn't take long for us to find out that her strength far exceeded mine!!! She easily outlifted me in weightlifting (in the clean and jerk); she easily downed me, and then she just as easily pinned me into submission, in wrestling; and last (but certainly not least), she easily beat me at arm wrestling. Her superior strength over mine was part of our physical attraction toward each other!!!

Kathy Hargrove on August 24, 2017:

I use to be a 7/8 and dressed in really bold colors and loved cute flirty dresses. Now due to getting very ill and given 2 courses of steroids I am now a size 16. At 5' with wide hips I am 61yr old. I need to find something for my nieces wedding. I am finding myself very picky and cannot find anything because I know I need a full skirt and I do not have the prettiest of legs so if going with a dress I would like to stick to mid calf or midi. If I have to go with pants and blous I have to go with a longer top to cover my hips to feel comfortable with my looks due to my hips. Suggestion?

Ann Hyde on May 07, 2017:

what style pant leg is most becoming to the short "curvy" person?

straight?

bootleg

capri

very tapered like tights?

wide leg

silky wide flowing?

jenifer on April 25, 2017:

Why do people assume petite means tiny people? I'm not even 5ft tall with a 38 DDD size bra and size 10 jeans. My upper arms are like 43 inches. (Way to big) Its so frustrating how short curvy people get left behind in the clothing world.

Christi on March 27, 2017:

I would love a post or even a site about dressing for various occasions--for the short and heavy, which I am. My main issue now, and how I found this article, is that I need to spiff it up for work, be more professional not just at trade shows and the like but on the day-to-day level. I haven't worn dresses since I was much younger (and smaller, size-wise; premenopausal), but now if I as an older woman want to keep my job I have to look more put together. A tall order, so to speak! Any and all advice welcome. I'm thinking about investing in Eileen Fisher clothes, even though they're expensive. Thank you again for this article!

Jenifino on March 01, 2017:

Ben,

Petite is ANY woman 5'4" or under! Why are you on here anyway? Are you a short cross dressing man? If so..welcome and f you are 5'4" or shorter, you would be petite even if you are a plus sized man in womens clothing.

Louise Hayes on February 17, 2017:

I'm 4'10" and weigh 220# - way short and way overweight. The only thing I can find is womens plus and they really don't fit well. Has anyone ever thought of having an online class in the ways petites plus can dress and/or find the right clothes?

Sarah on February 10, 2017:

So if I listen to the naysayers in the comments about what defines a petite women meaning only small and slim women, then small and overweight women have no term to help them buy and categorize clothes at all? The result of what they are saying is that we have no place in the world or that there is nothing for us or that we should remain invisible. Ben, Dave, Maria, Hannah: what the heck!?

Sarah on February 10, 2017:

Why is it that men are the ones telling us women (Ben and Dave...Screw you both you idiots!) what the fashion definition of petite is. We women are the ones who shop for clothes for women, not Ben and Dave (unless you guys DO shop for women's clothes?) If B & D were right about petite not including women who are both short and above desired weight, then this article would still completely apply because the point is that we short ladies cannot easily find clothes for us! I have to shop in juniors half the time (B&D, the definition of "Juniors" means for teenagers, in case you didn't know another fashion definition). My 14 y.o. daughter shops in the same section as me because we are the same size. For some bizarre reason, the clothing industry assumes that "adults" are average height or taller. They have a complete store at most malls for women who are big and tall but no store for women who are big and short, except the plus size section for teens! Also, Ben from 6 years ago, I hope you have stopped trolling women's fashion articles these past years, but if you've not learned any lessons, we can do anything and everything to make "fat" girls feel good. People have the right to feel good. You are a grade A "A-hole".

Melanie on February 02, 2017:

I need help to find plus size girl clothes for 9 year old. She can wear a woman's size 10 but thone styles are too long and too old for a 9 year old. I need fun youthful clothing for her.

Shortie on January 31, 2017:

The definition of petite according to the Mercian-Webster dictionary: "a clothing size for short women." - which could include "plus size."

Definitions are different across the board. Why would someone have something against "plus-sized" women being referred to as "petite?" And no, I'm not "plus-sized." But short plus-sized women are beautiful people too. And if being called "petite" makes them feel better, then so be it.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on January 19, 2017:

Glad you liked the article and I can so relate to your problem! Like you, I have to wear one size larger to accommodate large upper arms and since fit is crucial to the way we look, it is a big problem. You are quite right, most of us ladies, whether fat or thin, tall or small, are our own worst enemy. We are all worthy of love, but somedays it is more difficult to believe that than others! I'm so glad you've made headway with your demons, and if you ever solve the mystery of where large breasted women can find good bras, please come back and post the information so we can all share!

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on January 19, 2017:

Actually, it rather depends on the stripes and the person because not all plus sized petites are the same!

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on January 19, 2017:

Hi AngeLuvsU, sorry this reply is late, I don't seem to be getting notifications when people leave a comment! I'm working on some articles about coping with different proportions, yes, us plus size petites are all short, but not necessarily in the same way. Compared to me, 4'11 inches, you're a giant at five feet two, but I can relate to your problems; the great thing about humanity is that we are all different, but many ladies I talk to say the same, when they find something that fits it can make them look a little too 'professional'! Without knowing more about your precise problem it is difficult to advise, was the length or the neckline the major problem?

I've bought wrap dresses, had the hem taken up (at the local dry cleaners) and worn them with pants to dressy events, a great deal depends on the fabric. If it's plain it's easy to dress up with jewelry. Many shorter ladies find they look far better in full length dresses than short, if you go to town on the earrings they will take the focus away from your figure to your face, where it should be.

I hope this is some help, but watch this space for more hubs coming soon on the joys of being plus sized and petite.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on January 19, 2017:

Delighted to hear it. When last did you tell her?

eFar on January 13, 2017:

Ben and Dave, please post pictures of yourselves, because unless you're either a) Brad Pitt, b) George Clooney, c) Bradley Cooper or d) a greek god, you have no right to comment, let alone put any woman down.

Jeanne on December 15, 2016:

Ben

Your an idiot

I am short (5') & wear petite sizes 14& 16 because they fit me better. Just because you are a larger size does not make you all of a sudden become taller or longer arms or wider shoulders etc.

Don't be rediculous!!!

Arun on December 13, 2016:

I love my petit and full size wife. Clothes don't matter

AngeLuvsU on November 19, 2016:

Wow this article was posted sometime ago but still really gave me alot of info. Im built like a Trex 40 H chest ridiculously short arms 26 inch inseam size 14 ... 5'2 no hip no butt. Truly a nightmare when shopping for dresses. My legs and chest look nice in dresses but i cant figure style. Last dress i bought was a wrap. Above knee. Very sexy, to much so for what i need for a benifit dinner. I want the focus not on my chest. My problem is i either look short squaddie and boxy if it's not form-fitted and if its form fitted to accentuate my assets I look like I'm ready to get paid for a date. Any ideas ladies?

Kim on November 03, 2016:

Loved the article! I agree and disagree..since becoming overweight after my first child I color blocked everything.. stick with dark colors mostly black..try to hide myself... I'm 4'11.. started out as a 5..ballooned up to a 26..back down to a 14-16..large chested, small waist (size 10) so small for my size..and very large hips, thighs and butt..I'm older..so gravity has not been kind.. I'm just now wearing empire waist line dresses that flow and hide but flattering to my chest and waistline. I bought my first pair of skinny jeans today..to wear with black dress heels and a plum sequined collar v neck top. I have learned and come to hate shopping! Bras suck for large chested short women that need major support.. just short of a boob job! My paints I bought the waist is big but fits everything down but length they are about 4 inches too long. I hat buying jeans for 100.00 that I then have to take to the seamstress to have altered to fit me.. tops are the same arm holes...I have large upper arms..have to buy a larger size to fit..and bust..then the arms are to long and hit my knees..length all around are problems. If you buy your size in petite if you can find it...it's to narrow..itsts as if it says 16p but fits a 12-14. It took me many many many yrs to learn to love myself.. and I have still a daily battle with the mirror. I'm a middle age woman, I'm mixed with several ethnic backgrounds Filipino, Spanish, Native American, Italian..I have great skin coloring..and gave recently learned colors are my friends! I am petite... I am plus...and drinking more over I am a person. I woukd like to be bold and say I dress only for me now but that would be a lie. I worry about how others see me. So I would never wear a mini skirt cause it made me feel good and in up on people of walmart.. I dress stylish for my age..edgy at times and yes usually showing my best assets...lol I only wish these so called plus size models would be petite plus..somewhere.. as for the gentlemen way up top.. that was 6 yrs ago I'm sure life has been as kind to them as their statements. Just because I petite plus, fat, short and fabulous does not make me unworthy of love, kindness and courtesy. You do not know the struggles of others..I have my own demons I fight daily as many of us do, I do not need help of others for low self esteem.. I see it every morning while getting ready for work. Then I remember my montra.. Perfection, is my definition and fabulous is what I see...no one can ever make me feel worse than I can make myself..yes they can hit that nerve or be that trigger but your allowance to eat at you is what wins.. not the words..so ladies..short, fat, tall and thin our we all have our struggles...and thank you for your article!

Stacy on October 31, 2016:

Interesting...

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on October 26, 2016:

You are not the only person to have asked that question!

I completely agree with you cut and fit matter, it doesn't matter what size the garment says it is, if it doesn't fit, it's not your size and you really don't want to wear it. I am constantly grateful for the existence of petite sizes, but one thing I've learned from the comments here is that we are not all petite in the same way; I for example am just less than five feet tall, even petite slacks are a little large (sometimes I wear standard capris and they are full length) while tops are just about right for me. My torso must be normal length, my legs are certainly not! That's the wonderful, glorious thing about the human race, we're all the same, but we're also all different! Thanks for commenting.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on October 26, 2016:

I wish I could give you an instant solution, but there isn't one and I sympathise because although my measurements are much larger than yours, I have a similar problem, necks are often much too low for me.

There are only two good solutions, one is don't buy items with low necks! Pick a nice, simple boat neck, for example, or a short 'V'.

The only other thing you can do is buy a sewing machine and learn to use it. Making your own clothes can actually be simpler than trying to alter clothes you have bought. Find a pattern you like and adapt it, you'll find lessons on youtube on how to alter a pattern and start with ultra simple patterns. I started with patterns called Very Easy Vogue, usually the number of pattern pieces is a guide to how complex the pattern is. Once you've had some practice, you'll find single patterns that produce a whole wardrobe, most are marked with lines where you make the necessary adjustments.

Other than that, I find our local dry cleaner does some alterations at reasonable cost.

Rachel on October 18, 2016:

Ben and Dave must have really small penises! What idiots! I myself am 5'1 and not your typical size zero for our height. I'm a size 10...So I often have the struggle of not being able to find things that fit right. I'm not fat, I rather I have bigger butt and boobs. Doesn't make me not petite like the men are trying to say in this feed. Again, small penis syndrome will get to guys heads. Sad. Thank you for the article!

Laur on August 30, 2016:

Ok, For the record- yes, petite (in clothing terms) does mean short. Specifically under 5' 4". Petite clothing also compensates for shorter sleeve lengths, shoulder width, pant length, shirt rise, etc...essentially the natural framework of us shorties, no matter our size. In the US, sizes in petite clothing generally extend to size 18.

It can be difficult finding descent fitting clothing no matter your body type. Not all designers have the same cut or sizing standards. Experiment. I am 5'1 and anywhere between a size 12 and 16. For instance, I recently bought a black pair of slacks at Macy's in a size 14 short, and had to return them for a 16 petite because the waist cut was too high, and too wide with the regular size (even tho a size smaller than petite).

It's all in the cut for me, same with tops. I have both regular and petite sizes in my closet but fit is key. I go with classic lines and clothing that isn't too busy. Find staple pieces and brands that really work for you. Eg: a good maxi skirt, ankle length slimming pants, a good blazer, and blouses that hang at the natural waistline. I'll-fitted clothing- overly baggy or too tight a fit makes one look larger.

The way I see it, even tho it can be a challenge to weed out the perfect fit, we have more departments to potentially choose from (petite, regular, and plus). If you find a brand and style that fits well- keep going back for more. More options ladies!:)

And don't let the haters on this site, or others run you down....MY question is: What are they doing on a petite-plus women's website in the first place? Hmmmmm..... Lol.

Kitty Kat on August 20, 2016:

I LOVE that I stumbled across this page. Thanks for the helpful tips and keep being fabulous ladies!! Me and a few gal pals are surprising a friend of ours with a make over. She's "Petite" (That's for ben) and a true KNOCK-OUT! We are going to have so much fun! Thanks to her husband Chuck, for being so supportive & handing over his credit card LOL (She's a retro/rockabilly kind of girl)

Sheri on July 18, 2016:

I am 5" 160# and 34-DDD, I kinda have waist only cause my hips are large very short between bustline and shoulders. I always have to majorly shorten any tank tops I buy or the front is past my breasts. I need help on finding clothes to wear. I don't have the money to shop expensive or go to a tailor. Anyone have suggestions?

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on June 10, 2016:

I tend to agree. It is one thing to know what to wear, it's quite another to be able to find it, and that's not just down to size. As a red head I like to wear warm colors or autumn tones, these aren't easy to find in spring or summer wardrobe items. Why do fashion experts think that those of us who suit, chocolate, bronze or deep orange only want to wear these colors in the autumn? I want to wear them all year round because they look good on me. Personally I think fashion experts have it all the wrong way round. They think it's the clothes that matter, when really it's the people who wear them.

Thanks for your comment, if you find some clothes that are more to your liking, please post the details here so we can all shop there!

Ann Benoit on June 06, 2016:

Fashion wise I didn't pick up any new tips that I hadn't already figured out but many of the tips are unusable in today's market because of the manufacturers. For example go to Talbot's Women's Petites - every striped sweater is horizontal stripes. I formerly wore almost exclusively Talbots when they knew how to make vertical stripes. Ellen Liz Taylor used to make vertical stripped sweaters and shirts before it was bought out. I used to love wearing for example monochromatic linen pants and blazers with matching monochromatic silk shirts IN beautiful COLORS [not just black and white] but it is just not being made in any size. Fashion has really gone downhill.

Cyn on May 07, 2016:

Wow Love Kats comment

Liz on April 01, 2016:

Thank you for this article. Very, very helpful. I am so happy to have found it!

teri on March 23, 2016:

I wish they was a boutique for short curvy girls. I have very large bust broad shoulders. Petites are too short and regular lengths way to large. I often buy misses tops and junior pants to fit better. But often the tops are too wide around the waist. The struggle is real.

Suze on January 22, 2016:

I think this is probably the most useful article on the internet for short ladies, plus size or not - it's nice to know how to walk a little taller without having to wear heels.

Kat on November 23, 2015:

This article was great until I got to the comment section. For any men like Ben on this website (you weirdos), "petite" when shopping for clothes means "short". If you don't like it, go be a fashion designer and change the word. Otherwise, if you are specifically into "petite-as-in-child-sized" women and are somehow offended by this article, you're gonna have to admit to yourself that maybe you're not into women, you're actually into children.

Tammy on September 05, 2015:

I have worked retail for 20 + plus years and clothing is labeled petite bc it's short...us short plus size girls know we are not petite women. We just know that's what the industry uses to describe clothing that is short. This article is to try to help us find clothing that may work for our body type. We know our size and don't need you defining it! If your not here to help why be here at all?

peanutsnona on May 23, 2015:

I am 5'2" and gained a large amount of weight 4 yrs ago-quite rapidly-while eating an excellent diet and exercising regularly. I was 40 years old, and went from 112 lbs. to 135 lbs. in 2 1/2 weeks. Turned out to be a result of perimenopause. I was shocked to find out that no matter how much I exercised the weight wouldn't drop..soo... was faced with completely different figure! I was very large busted before and its worse now. I really appreciate sites that address this particular subject. Don't forget-many decent, wonderful, loving men find a little more "padding" to be attractive!( My own husband definitely likes me any-sized.)

medavinci on May 12, 2015:

Ben and others: Petite is short..you can be petite and thin or petite and heavier. You need to truly educate yourself before commenting!

Judy on May 04, 2015:

I love the comment about these hateful males who want "the best" "the most beautiful" etc. Those guys who are so hateful to overweight women who, if they were thin,wouldn't have the time of day for them

Kerri Bee from Upstate, NY on March 23, 2015:

Men don't get it. They've never had to learn the difference between Misses, Ladies, Women, Petite, etc.

I used to be able to shot at Fashion Bug and fit everything pretty well. Lane Bryant just isn't the same. That place is built for tall girls. I can't fit anything there.

Guest SYLVIA on March 21, 2015:

Stop it....this is about clothing!!!! Not a bash session for a body type. We are all made different. I am a very attractive woman on the plus size, I am 5ft and I wear classic beautiful clothes which bring in compliments all the time. Choose colors that compliment you, loose tailoring, and classy lines, THERE YOU GO! Add an accessory, scarf chain, pin...lip closs and VOILA. You nasty people out there who choose to be afraid of curves.....Some of you, no matter what you wear...thre CLASS IS MISSING.

poetryman6969 on March 07, 2015:

Short fat and stylish is a cute, eye catching title.

Dawn on March 01, 2015:

I'm in the plus-size petite range of clothing and it is very hard to find things that fit well.

For about five years now, I've been buying the majority of my clothing online from Talbots as they carry plus-petite even though my local Talbots store doesn't.

Talbots carries everything in plus-petite: jeans, pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, blouses, sweaters, even t-shirts and some outerwear during the fall/winter. They can be rather pricey, especially the winter coats, but there are often sales.

Almost nothing feels better than having a winter coat that fits every place. No more sleeves covering my fingers, no more back-belts hanging under my butt like a sling when it should be at the back of the waist.

Occasionally QVC clothing will be offered in a petite version that goes from XS-3X.

Also, Woman Within, an online plus-size clothing store, offers petite-plus in some of their dresses, tops, bottoms, and even sleepwear. And at a reasonable price, too.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on January 11, 2015:

Amy, I have to agree with you. This hub has been edited and Hubpages added their own explanatory graphics. Like you, I actually don't like them at all, but it was not under my control, sorry.

Amy Livingston from Highland Park, NJ on January 02, 2015:

What's up with that picture labeled "vertical lines fool the eye"? These color-blocked outfits are not flattering at all! The vertical blocks make the women's shapes look chunky, not long and lean. Change all these outfits to a single, solid color, and they instantly become more flattering.

Anon1 on November 25, 2014:

Virgie, it is sad that you think with a closed mind. I do not agree with Ben's statements at all. Please do not classify me in any category, as I do not do the same to you nor anyone else. This is still a good site for information for all, but for me, as of this posting I will be deleting it from my computer. I will not be chastised by anyone, haters or not. That is my freedom! Have a blessed day to all.

virgie on November 16, 2014:

hey there, i think Ben and the other guy are sissies, mocking us short and fat ladies....who are they by the way? go on girls....I'm 4"10 and 158 lbs but happy with what i am. my only concern is dressing for the right occasion...please feature more dresses of my size...thanks..

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on August 30, 2014:

Thank you for this article. Please ignore the bullies. Eileen Fisher makes clothing for us, if you can find a store that carries it. Here in San Francisco, Nordstrom's, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue carry her line in plus sizes and petite plus sizes. Not a lot of choices, but some, mostly separates. Like @Bat, I would love to find pretty dresses for petite plus-sizes.

Anon1 on April 02, 2014:

Hello to all. I too suffer the lack of height and slight bit of weight. OK....I'm short 5'3" and 195lbs. Being a man.....please forgive me, even men's clothing for my weight size are made for 6' or taller. My height size clothing is made for supermodels like toothpicks. So I often turn to women's catalogs for jeans and shirts which happen to be closer to my actual true size. Now I can see quite a few rolling their eyes, but I don't care. Women of "Petite Plus" size (to which I do consider myself) have more clothing choices than men. I am married, but my wife does not like the idea of men even thinking of wearing any type of women's clothing. So I do what I can out of love for my wife. But shopping for clothes men's for myself requires a lot of altering just to fit properly. This is just simply crazy. Sorry to ramble, but I like this site and just wanted to let those out there that are petite plus, don't listen to the haters, keep on going in life. I know exactly how you feel. I too get the hate comments from the male side of the population. Best of wishes to all. ;)

Caramella Fashion from Stara Zagora, Bulgaria on September 10, 2013:

Great article!

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on February 19, 2013:

I'm afraid my Russian is a bit rusty, but if Google translate is to be believed, this is a recipe for a henna rinse. Nice thought, but not sure why it's here?

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on February 15, 2013:

Just as for Lu's sizes, petites need clothes designed for their proportions and those aren't easy to find. Thanks for your comment.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on February 15, 2013:

Lovely article. It never ceases to amaze me which articles bring out the arguments. I never would have suspected to find one here. I have so much trouble in petite departments. I often shop for my daughter who is barely 5' tall. I hold up pants in front of myself and see the hems graze the top of my foot. I am 5'8". How can these clothes be called petite? It can be very hard to find the right size.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on December 05, 2012:

Hi Short round. Thanks for adding your comment to this hub. Let me tell you, you are not alone.Sounds like we are the same height. I too have struggled with my weight for decades and I know exactly what you mean. Most people, however, don't and think we just need more self control. They don't know how lucky they are.

I'm not sure I can advise you on trendy clothes. I have developed my own style which makes me feel good, and that is what I stick to. Personally, I think fashion in irrelevant, if you find something that makes you look and feel good, wear it. But what, in your case, would that be? It sounds as thought your figure is similar to mine, and we wear similar things. Around the house I can often be found in leggings. These don't look fantastic, but they are very comfortable, and since I have a leg that doesn't work well, they give it some support. Over the leggings I like to wear a bright colorful top, usually a tunic. I scour Romans and the like for anything described as a tunic which is at least 31 inches long, as I know that covers what I want covered. You won't find many, but there are some. When I want to look smart I wear clothes that have been made for me. Sounds tremendously good, doesn't it? It's not as expensive as you think. I buy from Astarte Woman and from Peggy Lutz. I usually wear a top, bottom and waterfall/cascade jacket all in the same color as that makes me look taller, and I add a bright, expenisve scarf at the neck.

For nigthtime. my own company make made to measure nightwear, and for evening, again I go to Peggy Lutz or Astarte. A completely plain, long dress in a slinky fabric is ideal for a formal event and ideal for travelling, and in a plain color you can add your own personality with scarves, jewelry and such. For outerwear I tend to stick to wraps. There are some great ones to be had at fabulous furs, I also have several in alpaca which are fabulous, but I'm sorry I.ve forgotten the name of the website.

Take a hard look at your figure. I assumed I was generally short, but found that my torso is actually average, its just my legs that are really short. Once you know your proportions you can play with shape and color as described in the hub. Above all, spend a little more for clothes that fit, look in the mirror and smile. Are you doing all you can to be the way you want to be? If so, get out there. People who matter don't mind. People who mind, don't matter.

short round on December 05, 2012:

Yes, my name says it all..Do I chose to be 4 ft 10, with a rather large top, and wide hips & big bottom, no, I dont. It is very frustrating when I go shopping and go into the "PLUS SIZE" department, and 1. All of the pants are way too long because they assume only tall women are supposed to be large or 2. The clothes are not stylish at all, and just screams "hey look at me, im short & fat, and the clothes suck", which reverts me to having to wear mainly leggings all the time, and try to offset it with a decent looking shirt. And because of my height/weight issue, I no longer want to wear dresses because of how they make me look. And yes, i have tried to lose the weight every way I can, and it has even gotten to the point where I am seriously considering the lap band surgery. Its already an issue when you are short, but when your short AND fat like me, it becomes a real hurtful issue. Yes some people are fortunate to have the weight just fall off of them, I on the other hand have struggled with this for the last 20 years, and its very frustrating for those tall, thin supermodel chicks or those dudes that have a 6 pack right now. Remember, you are not going to be drop dead gorgeous forever, despite what you may think..but anyway..not that I got that out my system, can another short, heavy lady please give me some advice as to where I can find some decent, nice trendy clothes that can make me feel ok about myself..thank you all & have a great day!!

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on October 14, 2012:

Thanks. A a short fat woman myself, this was a hub which came from the heart.

CZCZCZ from Oregon on October 13, 2012:

This is a great hub for those that fit the description. Voted up so more people see it as this hub has many good ideas and helpful.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on October 06, 2012:

Don't give up. Even the mass market catalogues are selling petite plus these days, and if that fails, made to measure for a couple of crucial pieces if a good way to go for anyone, regardless of size.

Joanamai3 on October 01, 2012:

Hi, it really helps me a lot for this information coz im having difficulties finding clothes for myself coz im only 5'2 and im fat girl, and whatever clothes i wear i feel like im getting smaller and im already losing my confidence wearing fashionable clothes well actually i dont buy one at all coz i feel stupid when wearing it coz im too small i meant i have a short legs and im fat..but hopefully i can build up again my confidence :) thanks for this wonderful article,looking forward to do what it says above :)

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on July 26, 2012:

I agree, the UK starts plus size a little early, but at least there are a few shops where you can buy plus size clothes. I remember when it was Evans, Evans or, of course, Evans.

Is it possible for size 18 plus to look good? Yes! Of course it is as long as the fit is good and you wear a flattering color. What's depressing is that the quality of a lot of plus size clothes is very poor, fit is quite often terrible, there's very little choice for plus size petites (it's a fashion industry term, anyone who doesn't like the word petite being used that way should apply to clothes manufacturers, not me) AND there are a lot of black clothes out there. I love black, it's a great color, but not all the time! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on July 26, 2012:

Thanks. Ive been plus size petite for as long as I can remember, and this was a hub which came from the heart.

Lesley Charalambides (author) from New Hampshire on July 26, 2012:

Have you thought about having some key pieces of clothing made to measure? It isn't always as expensive as it sounds. My Mum had the same problem as you do, and that was how she solved it. Fit really is more important than anything else, and a small wardrobe that fits well, is much better than lots of clothes that don't.

Hannah on June 29, 2012:

Joellen, Ben, Petite means SHORT. You can be petite [short] and squat. Ben is so wrong for some reason. Petite means small in fashion and French.

Hannah on June 28, 2012:

Ben, Petite does not mean short and squat. You cannot be fat and petite. Please stop trying to redefine the word petite to make fat girls feel good about themselves. Joellen, Petite DOES NOT mean short and squat. It's ugly to see a short fat woman calling herself petite. Stop trying to redefine the word petite to make those ugly fat women feel good about themselves.

fred on June 07, 2012:

Sandra - have you thought about a boob reduction if its really getting to you? I assume your already in a minimiser bra.

Sandra on May 29, 2012:

A DD cup to the breast line and the problem is threefold petite round and big breasted equals life in a sack. I may be a size 12 everywhere but the bust but instantly I become a size 20 long sleeves wide necks. And too long. I m so depressed

T on April 30, 2012:

This blog is fantastic.... thank you for the advise

Hannah on April 07, 2012:

Petite means short.

Clothing petite means slender. I have to agree with Ben on clothing petite.

ohmy22 on March 04, 2012:

so....back to where to find l/xl petite?. as an apple...my belly is large but butt and legs are trim....i like to walk in the summer but suffer from hot flashes. this leads me to look for t-shirts that go over the belly with cap sleeves...but not look pregnant.

in one case i put an elastic band around bottom of t-shirt and bought (Target) tshirt material bottoms. the bottoms were light and fit well ..with easy pull on.

many times, i have thought of seeking out a streamstress and market such clothes???

but in the mean time ...i march thru the web sites to trial and error.

Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on February 22, 2012:

Amaryllis -- I LOVE the title of this Hub! Thanks for the good ideas.

collegegirl909 on January 25, 2012:

some peole are just rude who care like I'm 5'4 and over weight lol...then i have others tell me your not over weight lol just tone up stomach a bit more hahaha either way iam short lol..

eaja on January 13, 2012:

where i live, "petite" is a height measurement for fashion, just as "centimetre" is a length measurement, and "litre" is a volume measurement. you can be petite, and be plus-sized. to those of you in your bubbles, yes, petite and plus-sized DOES happen. petite jeans are not necessarily skinnier fitting than regular, they're usually just shorter. petite as a word on its own does mean smaller, but in fashion it means shorter. (source: i'm a fashion student)

maria joobluh on November 30, 2011:

I am a woman and agree with Ben---not the way he put it, mind you, but in essence, I agree. There are 2 issues here. Height and breadth. If you are short, yes you are petite, in that your height is small, however if you are heavy...petite doesn't sit right with me. Conversely I believe you can be tall, so by definition NOT petite in height, however if you have small bones and very little weight then your breadth IS petite. It's a combo thing.

David Taylor from UK on November 27, 2011:

I know it's old, but blimey that was some crazy comments up there. In the UK, Plus Size is considered to start at size 12. Size 12! That's a US Size 8. It's ridiculous that anyone in that category be considered plus size.

Of course, I would say that, but we're a plus size company and we don't start until Size 18, which is where we believe it really become plus size.

And, again I would say this, but I don't care: it's completely possible for Size 18+ to buy and dress in some fabulous clothes and look great. The days when you couldn't are thankfully long gone.

mary on November 10, 2011:

I was directed to this site for some ideas on how to dress stylishly for my height which is 4'11" 1/2, weight at the moment 165lbs. The height runs in my family, I like being little. The weight is from medication, depression, stress and working 3 jobs to support my daughter and husband. I only eat breakfeast and the other 2 meals are Boost while traveling between jobs. When I married my husband, I was on 102lbs size 6 at the most. Husband was normal weight, but now, he is no underwear model, himself. He has match me pound for pound and then some. Guys are called big, women are call fat. I didn't choice to be this way, but Dave and Ben you choice to be pigs. It is possible for me and others to change are weight but a pig will always be a pig, no matter how you dress him up. At least we women are are this site for information to help us look our best. Why on earth are you guys on this site and even commenting on such a simple article, again for WOMEN. I appreciate the good information in the article.

cath on October 30, 2011:

Thank you ladies for setting Ben straight.I am a mature lady and have had a fun life. I have found that men like Ben love to think they are more than what they are. It is usually because of their (short)comings,if you know what I mean, that they love to put a woman down. Who do they think they are? Wonder what his mother,sister,wife, or GF will think when he gets old,fat or bald? you think they will love him any less/ No. Ben, Grow up jerk!

dayfar on October 25, 2011:

I am very frustrated when shopping for clothes. I too am short and round and clothing usually fits my top but not my waist. If I buy clothes from Lane Bryant they are made for tall heavy ladies. Apparantly only tall women can be plus sized.Even the petites are too small. If i am lucky I can find them in 16 and up. Occasionally I find a petite short in pants in an 18 but few and far between. With petite short I don't have to hem them. Also why do they think if you have a thick waist, your thighs are just as big. The pants usually look like tents. Very frustrating!

Jennifer Hall from Florida on August 25, 2011:

Great Article!

Marion Friedenthal on August 22, 2011:

Thank you for this article. I have to attend a wedding in a couple of months and as the short and fat step mother of the bride I don't want to embarrass her by looking frumpy.

Ben and Dave should each get a life because the time could come (if it hasn't already) when they will not be 'hot'and then they will be 100% short on personality to compensate for their lack of physical beauty.

Double standards for men and women need to end now. Men with potbellies insist that their women must look hot. I say 'to hell with them', there are more than enough men out there who look at inner beauty first and consider outer beauty to be just a bonus.

Bat on July 10, 2011:

Can I break into the bigot bashing to ask; where can I find a dress or skirt that will fit a plus waist but petite hieght? I am 5'2 and have been searching for a nice mid-calf-length, summer dress all over the web...forget the department stores...nothing here fits me.

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